Florida Senate - 2022                                     SB 758
       By Senator Diaz
       36-00698-22                                            2022758__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to education; creating s. 1002.3301,
    3         F.S.; establishing the Charter School Review
    4         Commission within the Department of Education;
    5         providing the purpose of the commission; specifying
    6         membership of the commission and the duration of
    7         members’ terms; requiring the Commissioner of
    8         Education to appoint members; providing that a
    9         majority of the commission members constitutes a
   10         quorum; providing that the commission has the same
   11         powers and duties as sponsors do in reviewing and
   12         approving charter schools; designating the district
   13         school board where a proposed charter school will be
   14         located as the school’s sponsor and supervisor;
   15         requiring a district school board to take specified
   16         actions within a certain timeframe regarding the
   17         commission’s granting of a charter school application;
   18         providing for the appeal of commission decisions;
   19         amending s. 1002.33, F.S.; providing legislative
   20         intent; authorizing the commission to solicit and
   21         review charter school applications; requiring that the
   22         district school board that oversees the school
   23         district where a charter school approved by the
   24         commission will be located shall serve as the charter
   25         school’s sponsor; prohibiting sponsors from imposing
   26         additional reporting requirements on a charter school
   27         so long as the charter school meets specified
   28         requirements; revising the terms and conditions for
   29         charter renewal; revising the procedure and causes for
   30         nonrenewal or termination of a charter; providing that
   31         any facility may provide space to charter schools
   32         under its existing zoning and land use designations
   33         without obtaining a special exception, rezoning, or a
   34         land use change; requiring that educational impact
   35         fees required to be paid in connection with new
   36         residential dwelling units be designated instead for
   37         the construction of charter school facilities;
   38         amending s. 1011.71, F.S.; providing that certain
   39         additional tax millage is part of school districts’
   40         operating discretionary millage levy; providing an
   41         effective date.
   43  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   45         Section 1. Section 1002.3301, Florida Statutes, is created
   46  to read:
   47         1002.3301 Charter School Review Commission.—The Charter
   48  School Review Commission is created within the Department of
   49  Education to review and approve applications for charter schools
   50  overseen by district school boards.
   51         (1)The commission shall consist of seven members who have
   52  charter school experience, selected by the Commissioner of
   53  Education and subject to confirmation by the Senate. The
   54  commissioner shall designate one member as the chair. Each
   55  member shall be appointed to a 4-year term. However, for the
   56  purpose of achieving staggered terms, of the initial
   57  appointments, three members shall be appointed to 2-year terms
   58  and four members shall be appointed to 4-year terms. All
   59  subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. A majority of
   60  the members of the commission constitutes a quorum.
   61         (2)The commission has the same powers and duties as
   62  sponsors pursuant to s. 1002.33 in regard to reviewing and
   63  approving charter schools.
   64         (3)The district school board of the school district where
   65  the proposed charter school will be located shall be the sponsor
   66  of and supervisor for the new charter school and shall provide
   67  an initial proposed charter contract to the charter school
   68  pursuant to s. 1002.33(7)(b) within 30 calendar days after the
   69  commission’s decision granting an application.
   70         (4)The decisions of the commission may be appealed in
   71  accordance with s. 1002.33(6)(c).
   72         Section 2. Subsection (2), paragraphs (a) and (b) of
   73  subsection (5), paragraph (c) of subsection (7), paragraph (a)
   74  of subsection (8), and paragraphs (c) and (f) of subsection (18)
   75  of section 1002.33, Florida Statutes, are amended, to read:
   76         1002.33 Charter schools.—
   78         (a) Charter schools in Florida shall be guided by the
   79  following principles:
   80         1. Meet high standards of student achievement while
   81  providing parents flexibility to choose among diverse
   82  educational opportunities within this the state’s public school
   83  system.
   84         2. Promote enhanced academic success and financial
   85  efficiency by aligning responsibility with accountability.
   86         3. Provide parents with sufficient information on whether
   87  their child is reading at grade level and whether the child
   88  gains at least a year’s worth of learning for every year spent
   89  in the charter school.
   90         (b) Charter schools shall fulfill the following purposes:
   91         1. Improve student learning and academic achievement.
   92         2. Increase learning opportunities for all students, with
   93  special emphasis on low-performing students and reading.
   94         3. Encourage the use of innovative learning methods.
   95         4. Require the measurement of learning outcomes.
   96         (c) Charter schools may fulfill the following purposes:
   97         1. Create innovative measurement tools.
   98         2. Provide rigorous competition within the public school
   99  system to stimulate continual improvement in all public schools.
  100         3. Expand the capacity of the public school system.
  101         4. Mitigate the educational impact created by the
  102  development of new residential dwelling units.
  103         5. Create new professional opportunities for teachers,
  104  including ownership of the learning program at the school site.
  105         (d)It is the intent of the Legislature that charter school
  106  students be considered as important as all other students in
  107  this state and, to that end, comparable funding levels from
  108  existing and future sources should be maintained for charter
  109  school students.
  110         (5) SPONSOR; DUTIES.—
  111         (a) Sponsoring entities.—
  112         1. A district school board may sponsor a charter school in
  113  the county over which the district school board has
  114  jurisdiction.
  115         2. A state university may grant a charter to a lab school
  116  created under s. 1002.32 and shall be considered to be the
  117  school’s sponsor. Such school shall be considered a charter lab
  118  school.
  119         3. Because needs relating to educational capacity,
  120  workforce qualifications, and career education opportunities are
  121  constantly changing and extend beyond school district
  122  boundaries:
  123         a. A state university may, upon approval by the Department
  124  of Education, solicit applications and sponsor a charter school
  125  to meet regional education or workforce demands by serving
  126  students from multiple school districts.
  127         b. A Florida College System institution may, upon approval
  128  by the Department of Education, solicit applications and sponsor
  129  a charter school in any county within its service area to meet
  130  workforce demands and may offer postsecondary programs leading
  131  to industry certifications to eligible charter school students.
  132  A charter school established under subparagraph (b)4. may not be
  133  sponsored by a Florida College System institution until its
  134  existing charter with the school district expires as provided
  135  under subsection (7).
  136         c. Notwithstanding paragraph (6)(b), a state university or
  137  Florida College System institution may, at its discretion, deny
  138  an application for a charter school.
  139         d.The Charter School Review Commission, as authorized
  140  under s. 1002.3301, may solicit and review applications for
  141  charter schools overseen by district school boards, and upon the
  142  commission approving an application, the district school board
  143  that oversees the school district where the charter school will
  144  be located shall serve as sponsor.
  145         (b) Sponsor duties.—
  146         1.a. The sponsor shall monitor and review the charter
  147  school in its progress toward the goals established in the
  148  charter.
  149         b. The sponsor shall monitor the revenues and expenditures
  150  of the charter school and perform the duties provided in s.
  151  1002.345.
  152         c. The sponsor may approve a charter for a charter school
  153  before the applicant has identified space, equipment, or
  154  personnel, if the applicant indicates approval is necessary for
  155  it to raise working funds.
  156         d. The sponsor may shall not apply its policies to a
  157  charter school unless mutually agreed to by both the sponsor and
  158  the charter school. If the sponsor subsequently amends any
  159  agreed-upon sponsor policy, the version of the policy in effect
  160  at the time of the execution of the charter, or any subsequent
  161  modification thereof, shall remain in effect and the sponsor may
  162  not hold the charter school responsible for any provision of a
  163  newly revised policy until the revised policy is mutually agreed
  164  upon.
  165         e. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter is innovative
  166  and consistent with the state education goals established by s.
  167  1000.03(5).
  168         f. The sponsor shall ensure that the charter school
  169  participates in the state’s education accountability system. If
  170  a charter school falls short of performance measures included in
  171  the approved charter, the sponsor shall report such shortcomings
  172  to the Department of Education.
  173         g. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
  174  under state law for personal injury, property damage, or death
  175  resulting from an act or omission of an officer, employee,
  176  agent, or governing body of the charter school.
  177         h. The sponsor is shall not be liable for civil damages
  178  under state law for any employment actions taken by an officer,
  179  employee, agent, or governing body of the charter school.
  180         i. The sponsor’s duties to monitor the charter school do
  181  shall not constitute the basis for a private cause of action.
  182         j. The sponsor may shall not impose additional reporting
  183  requirements on a charter school as long as the charter school
  184  has not been identified as having a deteriorating financial
  185  condition or financial emergency pursuant to s. 1002.345 without
  186  providing reasonable and specific justification in writing to
  187  the charter school.
  188         k. The sponsor shall submit an annual report to the
  189  Department of Education in a web-based format to be determined
  190  by the department.
  191         (I) The report shall include the following information:
  192         (A) The number of applications received during the school
  193  year and up to August 1 and each applicant’s contact
  194  information.
  195         (B) The date each application was approved, denied, or
  196  withdrawn.
  197         (C) The date each final contract was executed.
  198         (II) Annually, by November 1, the sponsor shall submit to
  199  the department the information for the applications submitted
  200  the previous year.
  201         (III) The department shall compile an annual report, by
  202  sponsor, and post the report on its website by January 15 of
  203  each year.
  204         2. Immunity for the sponsor of a charter school under
  205  subparagraph 1. applies only with respect to acts or omissions
  206  not under the sponsor’s direct authority as described in this
  207  section.
  208         3. This paragraph does not waive a sponsor’s sovereign
  209  immunity.
  210         4. A Florida College System institution may work with the
  211  school district or school districts in its designated service
  212  area to develop charter schools that offer secondary education.
  213  These charter schools must include an option for students to
  214  receive an associate degree upon high school graduation. If a
  215  Florida College System institution operates an approved teacher
  216  preparation program under s. 1004.04 or s. 1004.85, the
  217  institution may operate charter schools that serve students in
  218  kindergarten through grade 12 in any school district within the
  219  service area of the institution. District school boards shall
  220  cooperate with and assist the Florida College System institution
  221  on the charter application. Florida College System institution
  222  applications for charter schools are not subject to the time
  223  deadlines outlined in subsection (6) and may be approved by the
  224  district school board at any time during the year. Florida
  225  College System institutions may not report FTE for any students
  226  participating under this subparagraph who receive FTE funding
  227  through the Florida Education Finance Program.
  228         5. For purposes of assisting the development of a charter
  229  school, a school district may enter into nonexclusive interlocal
  230  agreements with federal and state agencies, counties,
  231  municipalities, and other governmental entities that operate
  232  within the geographical borders of the school district to act on
  233  behalf of such governmental entities in the inspection,
  234  issuance, and other necessary activities for all necessary
  235  permits, licenses, and other permissions that a charter school
  236  needs in order for development, construction, or operation. A
  237  charter school may use, but may not be required to use, a school
  238  district for these services. The interlocal agreement must
  239  include, but need not be limited to, the identification of fees
  240  that charter schools will be charged for such services. The fees
  241  must consist of the governmental entity’s fees plus a fee for
  242  the school district to recover no more than actual costs for
  243  providing such services. These services and fees are not
  244  included within the services to be provided pursuant to
  245  subsection (20). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an
  246  interlocal agreement between a school district and a federal or
  247  state agency, county, municipality, or other governmental entity
  248  which prohibits or limits the creation of a charter school
  249  within the geographic borders of the school district is void and
  250  unenforceable.
  251         6. The board of trustees of a sponsoring state university
  252  or Florida College System institution under paragraph (a) is the
  253  local educational agency for all charter schools it sponsors for
  254  purposes of receiving federal funds and accepts full
  255  responsibility for all local educational agency requirements and
  256  the schools for which it will perform local educational agency
  257  responsibilities. A student enrolled in a charter school that is
  258  sponsored by a state university or Florida College System
  259  institution may not be included in the calculation of the school
  260  district’s grade under s. 1008.34(5) for the school district in
  261  which he or she resides.
  262         (7) CHARTER.—The terms and conditions for the operation of
  263  a charter school shall be set forth by the sponsor and the
  264  applicant in a written contractual agreement, called a charter.
  265  The sponsor and the governing board of the charter school shall
  266  use the standard charter contract pursuant to subsection (21),
  267  which shall incorporate the approved application and any addenda
  268  approved with the application. Any term or condition of a
  269  proposed charter contract that differs from the standard charter
  270  contract adopted by rule of the State Board of Education shall
  271  be presumed a limitation on charter school flexibility. The
  272  sponsor may not impose unreasonable rules or regulations that
  273  violate the intent of giving charter schools greater flexibility
  274  to meet educational goals. The charter shall be signed by the
  275  governing board of the charter school and the sponsor, following
  276  a public hearing to ensure community input.
  277         (c)1. A charter may be renewed provided that a program
  278  review demonstrates that the criteria in paragraph (a) have been
  279  successfully accomplished and that none of the grounds for
  280  nonrenewal established by paragraph (8)(a) has been expressly
  281  found documented. The charter of a charter school that meets
  282  these requirements and has received a school grade lower than a
  283  “B” pursuant to s. 1008.34 in the most recently graded school
  284  year must be renewed for no less than a 5-year term except as
  285  provided in paragraph (9)(n). In order to facilitate long-term
  286  financing for charter school construction, charter schools
  287  operating for a minimum of 3 years and demonstrating exemplary
  288  academic programming and fiscal management are eligible for a
  289  15-year charter renewal. Such long-term charter is subject to
  290  annual review and may be terminated during the term of the
  291  charter.
  292         2. The 15-year charter renewal that may be granted pursuant
  293  to subparagraph 1. must shall be granted to a charter school
  294  that has received a school grade of “A” or “B” pursuant to s.
  295  1008.34 in the most recently graded school year 3 of the past 4
  296  years and that is not in a state of financial emergency or
  297  deficit position as defined by this section. Such long-term
  298  charter is subject to annual review and may be terminated during
  299  the term of the charter pursuant to subsection (8).
  301         (a) The sponsor shall make student academic achievement for
  302  all students the most important factor when determining whether
  303  to renew or terminate the charter. The sponsor may also choose
  304  not to renew or may terminate the charter only if the sponsor
  305  expressly finds that one of the grounds set forth below exists
  306  by clear and convincing evidence:
  307         1. Failure to participate in the state’s education
  308  accountability system created in s. 1008.31, as required in this
  309  section, or failure to meet the requirements for student
  310  performance stated in the charter.
  311         2. Failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal
  312  management due to deteriorating financial conditions or
  313  financial emergencies determined pursuant to s. 1002.345.
  314         3. Material violation of law.
  315         4. Other good cause shown.
  316         (18) FACILITIES.—
  317         (c) Any facility, or portion thereof, used to house a
  318  charter school whose charter has been approved by the sponsor
  319  and the governing board, pursuant to subsection (7), is shall be
  320  exempt from ad valorem taxes pursuant to s. 196.1983 and.
  321  Library, community service, museum, performing arts, theatre,
  322  cinema, church, Florida College System institution, college, and
  323  university facilities may provide space to charter schools
  324  within their facilities under the facility’s existing their
  325  preexisting zoning and land use designations without obtaining a
  326  special exception, rezoning, or a land use change.
  327         (f) To the extent that charter school facilities are
  328  specifically created to mitigate the educational impact created
  329  by the development of new residential dwelling units, pursuant
  330  to subparagraph (2)(c)4., some of or all of the educational
  331  impact fees required to be paid in connection with the new
  332  residential dwelling units must may be designated instead for
  333  the construction of the charter school facilities that will
  334  mitigate the student station impact. Such facilities shall be
  335  built to the State Requirements for Educational Facilities and
  336  shall be owned by a public or nonprofit entity. The local school
  337  district retains the right to monitor and inspect such
  338  facilities to ensure compliance with the State Requirements for
  339  Educational Facilities. If a facility ceases to be used for
  340  public educational purposes, either the facility shall revert to
  341  the school district subject to any debt owed on the facility, or
  342  the owner of the facility shall have the option to refund all
  343  educational impact fees utilized for the facility to the school
  344  district. The district and the owner of the facility may
  345  contractually agree to another arrangement for the facilities if
  346  the facilities cease to be used for educational purposes. The
  347  owner of property planned or approved for new residential
  348  dwelling units and the entity levying educational impact fees
  349  shall enter into an agreement that designates the educational
  350  impact fees that will be allocated for the charter school
  351  student stations and that ensures the timely construction of the
  352  charter school student stations concurrent with the expected
  353  occupancy of the residential units. The application for use of
  354  educational impact fees shall include an approved charter school
  355  application. To assist the school district in forecasting
  356  student station needs, the entity levying the impact fees shall
  357  notify the affected district of any agreements it has approved
  358  for the purpose of mitigating student station impact from the
  359  new residential dwelling units.
  360         Section 3. Subsection (2) of section 1011.71, Florida
  361  Statutes, is amended to read:
  362         1011.71 District school tax.—
  363         (2) In addition to the maximum millage levy as provided in
  364  subsection (1), each school board may levy not more than 1.5
  365  mills against the taxable value for school purposes for charter
  366  schools pursuant to s. 1013.62(1) and (3) and for district
  367  schools. This millage is part of the school district’s operating
  368  discretionary millage levy and may be used to fund:
  369         (a) New construction, remodeling projects, sites and site
  370  improvement or expansion to new sites, existing sites, auxiliary
  371  facilities, athletic facilities, or ancillary facilities.
  372         (b) Maintenance, renovation, and repair of existing school
  373  plants or of leased facilities to correct deficiencies pursuant
  374  to s. 1013.15(2).
  375         (c) The purchase, lease-purchase, or lease of school buses.
  376         (d) The purchase, lease-purchase, or lease of new and
  377  replacement equipment; computer and device hardware and
  378  operating system software necessary for gaining access to or
  379  enhancing the use of electronic and digital instructional
  380  content and resources; and enterprise resource software
  381  applications that are classified as capital assets in accordance
  382  with definitions of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board,
  383  have a useful life of at least 5 years, and are used to support
  384  districtwide administration or state-mandated reporting
  385  requirements. Enterprise resource software may be acquired by
  386  annual license fees, maintenance fees, or lease agreements.
  387         (e) Payments for educational facilities and sites due under
  388  a lease-purchase agreement entered into by a district school
  389  board pursuant to s. 1003.02(1)(f) or s. 1013.15(2), not
  390  exceeding, in the aggregate, an amount equal to three-fourths of
  391  the proceeds from the millage levied by a district school board
  392  pursuant to this subsection. The three-fourths limit is waived
  393  for lease-purchase agreements entered into before June 30, 2009,
  394  by a district school board pursuant to this paragraph. If
  395  payments under lease-purchase agreements in the aggregate,
  396  including lease-purchase agreements entered into before June 30,
  397  2009, exceed three-fourths of the proceeds from the millage
  398  levied pursuant to this subsection, the district school board
  399  may not withhold the administrative fees authorized by s.
  400  1002.33(20) from any charter school operating in the school
  401  district.
  402         (f) Payment of loans approved pursuant to ss. 1011.14 and
  403  1011.15.
  404         (g) Payment of costs directly related to complying with
  405  state and federal environmental statutes, rules, and regulations
  406  governing school facilities.
  407         (h) Payment of costs of leasing relocatable educational
  408  facilities, of renting or leasing educational facilities and
  409  sites pursuant to s. 1013.15(2), or of renting or leasing
  410  buildings or space within existing buildings pursuant to s.
  411  1013.15(4).
  412         (i) Payment of the cost of school buses when a school
  413  district contracts with a private entity to provide student
  414  transportation services if the district meets the requirements
  415  of this paragraph.
  416         1. The district’s contract must require that the private
  417  entity purchase, lease-purchase, or lease, and operate and
  418  maintain, one or more school buses of a specific type and size
  419  that meet the requirements of s. 1006.25.
  420         2. Each such school bus must be used for the daily
  421  transportation of public school students in the manner required
  422  by the school district.
  423         3. Annual payment for each such school bus may not exceed
  424  10 percent of the purchase price of the state pool bid.
  425         4. The proposed expenditure of the funds for this purpose
  426  must have been included in the district school board’s notice of
  427  proposed tax for school capital outlay as provided in s.
  428  200.065(10).
  429         (j) Payment of the cost of the opening day collection for
  430  the library media center of a new school.
  431         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.